Wednesday, December 12, 2012
'I wish Gillard was dead': AFP raid home after string of emails
There's clearly a free speech defence here. Opinions are not threats -- not outside Communist countries, anyway
A Sunshine Coast man whose home was raided by at least 12 federal police yesterday denies he is a terrorist or has links to outlaw bikies.
Glenn Dirix admitted he regularly sent confronting emails to federal and state MPs, including one where he apparently wrote "I wish (Prime Minister) Julia Gillard was dead", but he said he did not believe he was a security threat.
Mr Dirix considers himself a blogger who merely makes comments about Australian politics. He sends the emails using his own name to the public email accounts of the politicians.
He said among the emails, for example, were pictures of politicians with clown hats on, a picture that described Treasurer Wayne Swan as an "economics illiterate", and a picture of Ms Gillard and Mr Swan in a parody of Custer's last stand, a commentary on the 2013 federal election.
Mr Dirix has been charged with seven counts of using a carriage service to "menace, harass or cause offence" and one charge of assaulting police.
Deaf woman wants to be on a jury
There is a culture of denial among many deaf people which denies that they are handicapped
A DEAF woman claims she was subjected to unlawful discrimination when she was unwillingly excused from jury duty because of her hearing disability.
Gaye Prudence Lyons has made a complaint against the Queensland Government under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 for failing to provide an interpreter during her stint as member of an Ipswich jury panel.
Details of the action were revealed in a recent Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision to consider Ms Lyons' request for an order forcing the Deputy Registrar and Sheriff of the Ipswich District Court to supply a range of documents.
QCAT senior member Clare Endicott, in a recently published four page ruling, dismissed Mr Lyons' application for the tribunal to issue a notice of production, but does give a small insight into the hearing impaired woman's complaint.
"Ms Lyons has referred to QCAT a complaint that she has been unlawfully discriminated against by the State of Queensland when she was excused from jury duty because she is deaf and required an Auslan interpreter in order to perform jury duty," Ms Endicott said.
"Ms Lyons complains that she has been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of an impairment in the provision of services to her and by the administration of State laws and programs contrary to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991."
The tribunal was told Ms Lyons, in preparation of her case, applied for a notice to be issued by the tribunal to obtain a range of documents, including any policy, guideline, direction or other document relating to deaf people and jury duty in operation between January 1 and October 9 this year.
Ms Lyons' application was opposed by the state government on the grounds it was an abuse of process.
"(Ms Lyons) has explained that access to the requested documents is reasonably necessary for (her) to reply to the contentions of the state," Ms Endicott said.
Ms Endicott, in dismissing Mr Lyons application, said she expected the state government would make reasonable attempts to ascertain if the documents requested actually existed before the matter was heard.
"If documents within the categories do exist, and if the State objects to providing copies to Ms Lyons of all or any of the ascertained documents, then the parties can at that stage seek a direction for QCAT for the release of copies of the actual documents in dispute to Ms Lyons."
Greenies using lies about Great Barrier Reef to attack industry
REEF experts believe the loss of half the coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef is a "national crisis" worthy of a rescue package similar to the $12 billion plan to save the Murray Darling Basin.
They blame Queensland's biggest industries, coal and sugar cane, for the rapid decline and question the fate of the $5 billion tourism icon given mining, farming and port developments.
But leading tourism identities warn the state's tourist trade and international reputation is being damaged as scientists send a "skewed" and "misleading" message that the Reef "is half-dead".
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and Industry Minister Martin Ferguson met with state counterparts Andrew Powell and Andrew Cripps to discuss the Reef in Brisbane yesterday.
Professor Terry Hughes, director of the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies, said the talks failed to reveal how officials would handle the show-cause notice by UNESCO on the Reef becoming an "at risk" World Heritage site.
Prof Hughes said authorities had to impose a cap on dredging and stop farm run-off.
"It is a national crisis and it needs a rescue package response equivalent to that in the Murray Darling Basin," he said. "We need to ask: 'Do we need to have a sugar industry or a coal industry?' "
Mike Ball, a veteran dive industry figure, said much of the outer and northern Reef system was still pristine and figures from coastal reefs sent a skewed message overseas.
Canegrowers chief executive Steve Greenwood said it was irresponsible for scientists to suggest the end of the state's $2 billion sugar industry.
Mr Powell said: "Our target is to see a 50 per cent reduction in nutrients run-off by 2013 and a 20 per cent reduction in sediment by 2020."
ABARES report confirms that Australian fisheries stocks are sustainable
The release of the ABARES wild fish stocks report today confirms what marine scientists such as Professor Robert Kearney have been saying consistently: that Australian fishing practices are some of the best in the world, Senator Boswell said today.
The ABARES report comes just one month after the Federal Minister for the Environment Tony Burke declared new marine reserves that will cover 2.3 million square kilometres around Australia -- banning commercial and recreational fishers from vast areas.
“Tony Burke has never explained why these areas needed to be locked up and what our oceans needed protection from. He has never established the case for declaring these marine parks -- and sadly Australian fishermen will bear the brunt of this flawed Government policy,” Senator Boswell said.
“This has never been about marine protection. Australia has a proud record of sustainable fishing practices. We extract less than 30 kilograms of marine catch per square kilometre compared to Thailand who extract almost 6000 kilograms of marine catch from their oceans.
“This Labor Government policy has been driven by a coalition of local and international green groups financed by the American PEW Foundation. The latest network of Marine Reserves will lock up sustainable, productive and valuable fishing grounds and will devastate coastal communities.
“Australians will be denied a vital source. We currently import 72 per cent of our seafood from overseas from countries with a less than enviable environmental record.
“The impact will be the greatest in Queensland with the Coral Sea marine park covering over 989,842 square kilometres, an area that is more than half the size of Queensland.
“The government’s own figures show that the planned fishing bans would have a substantial impact on Mooloolaba, Cairns and Karumba. “Cairns based fishers will lose catch valued at $3.6 million a year and Mooloolaba-based fishers will lose catch valued at $1.5 million a year.
“The declaration of marine reserves has been all about placating the Greens; meanwhile, commercial fishermen will be denied a living and face a compensation package that is woefully inadequate.
“Today’s report confirms what we have known from the beginning: these marine reserves are not about marine science but are all about Greens preferences at the next Federal election,” Senator Boswell said.
Press release from Qld. Nationals Senator Ron Boswell